Diabetes and Bladder Cancer

Bladder cancer is an aggressive disease that affects approximately 71,000 Americans each year. The good news is that this bladder has one of the highest survival rates of any cancer. Statistics show that over 50 percent of patients are still alive five years after diagnosis. Researchers have linked bladder cancer to cigarette smoking, exposure to carcinogens and the use of Actos, a diabetes drug with numerous side effects.

Actos and Bladder Cancer

Experts predict that the diabetes drug Actos will be responsible for causing bladder cancer in a significant number of patients. This drug is manufactured by Takeda Pharmaceuticals. Diabetics take this medication to lower the body's sensitivity to insulin and control blood sugar levels. While the product has proven effective in performing its' job Actos users need to be aware of the risks involved.

The risks to Actos users is considered so serious that the FDA ordered the manufacturer to place its highest warning (blackbox) on the medicine back in 2007, shortly after France and Germany suspended sales of the drug in their countries. More recently the FDA issued new warnings in June 2011 regarding the health risks associated with this drug. A study conducted over a period of 10 years revealed that diabetics who used Actos for over a year or at relatively high doses face a higher risk of developing bladder cancer and other disorders. Experts say that this medication should not be prescribed to people with a history of bladder cancer.

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Risk of Bladder Cancer for Diabetic Patients

Recent studies have shown that there is an epidemiological relationship between diabetes mellitus and bladder cancer. Diabetic patients present an increased risk of developing this form of cancer compared with non-diabetics. Researchers have found that many of the drugs used for treating diabetes, such as pioglitazone sold under the brand name Actos, increase the risk of cancer.

Actos is sold alone or in combination with glimepiride (Duetact) and metformin (Actoplus Met). The FDA is advising doctors not to use this drug in patients who have had bladder cancer. A five-year study indicates that patients who took Actos had a 20 percent higher risk of bladder cancer. This medication is also known to carry a risk of serious side effects on the liver. The use of Actos may also lead to cardiovascular disease and heart attacks.

What should Diabetes Patients do?

While the risk of bladder cancer is significant for diabetes patients using Actos or other products containing pioglitazone patients should not stop using the product without first consulting their doctor. The first step is to determine whether or not the patient is in a high risk category for the development of bladder cancer, including whether there is a family history of the disease, the length of time the product has been used and the dose being used.

If the patient and doctor conclude that the benefits from the drug outweigh the possible side effects then patients should immediately familiarize themselves with the symptoms of bladder cancer and what to do if those symptoms appear to be present in their body.

Educate Yourself

By far the most important task a diabetes patient can do is to find a good resource to educate themselves as to the signs of bladder cancer if they have been advised to continue using Actos by their doctor. Bladder cancer is one of the most curable cancers when recognized in the early stages. Feel free to request a copy of the bladder cancer book highlighted on this site. It has all the information you will need about the recognition and treatment of bladder cancer and we will ship it for free as soon as you request it. Stay informed, bladder cancer is not a death sentence for those that pay attention.